Under Pressure: Living Life and Avoiding Death on a Nuclear Submarine

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Being extremely claustrophobic, I have often wondered how others overcome the dread of enclosed spaces, which is why I selected this book for review. Enduring confinement within a metal-encased, cigar-shaped submarine further embedded within the bowels of the sea is a nightmarish sensation for some, yet Richard Humphreys aptly describes his recollections of his years in the submarine service during the 1980s.

As part of the crew on a nuclear submarine armed with ballistic missiles, the young submariner learned the operation of the extremely compact and complex vessel. Along with details about the ship’s mechanics, he describes the mental and physical challenges faced due to being isolated in confined areas devoid of natural light, where the oxygen concentration is electrically regulated, water desalinated and rationed, carbon dioxide carefully controlled, and waste accumulated until the stench becomes overwhelming. Add to that the awareness that any mishap is likely to prove fatal. Mentally, each crew member must learn how to gain emotional control, and this last feat led to the young, cocky adventurer turning to books and pursuing his more adult vocation as a bookseller.

Although there is much repetition, the details he describes of life during secret Cold War submarine maneuvers are revelatory and the reader can observe the slow maturation of this youth during his training period. The writing is straightforward, the text is filled with information about submarines, and the book provides insights into the frustrations and challenges that face servicemen.


Reviewed By:

Author Richard Humphreys
Star Count 4.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher Hanover Square Press
Publish Date 2020-06-02
ISBN 9781335996244
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2020
Category Biographies & Memoirs
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